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Topic: Emerald Tablet interpretation

posted 9/23/2011  19:01Send e-mail to userReply with quote
This is an interpretation of the Newton translation (1680), which is the translation of the Latin text in Theatrum Chemicum (1602). I wrote it in trying to show that my system can be derived from it. I can explain where every detail comes from, it is completely rational and the symbolism was well established, so certain words meant only certain things. Based on this interpretation, i have reasons to say that people who originally wrote it, knew much more than they said, because otherwise it is difficult to explain why they wrote only certain most important principles, and wrote them together in a short text.

These are the fundamental truths.

That which is on higher level is like that which is on lower level and vice versa, to manifest one interconnected whole.

All things have grown out from that whole and become what they are by adaptation.

The growth and reduction are main aspects of the fundamental system, and change and tendency toward greater harmony are inherent manifestations of these aspects.

That fundamental system is the force behind all reality.

Converting that force to physical level provides generality.

Separating the restrictive from creative and the subtle from the gross enables generality to spread.

The change of state and interaction between the fundamental and the physical level enables everything to develop.

One should now understand so much about the workings of nature, that it will be easy to see the truth from misleading.

The fundamental system is present everywhere, is inside everything, acts through everything, and what is true about it, is valid everywhere.

The reality is made following these principles, there is no other possibility.

These principles determine the processes by which the fundamental system forms into all things by adaptation.

This knowledge provides the three most fundamental philosophical principles, the growth, reduction, and interconnectedness.

This should be all that is necessary to fully understand the most fundamental in nature.

Last edited by tkorrovi @ 9/23/2011 8:15:00 PM

posted 9/28/2011  11:44Send e-mail to userReply with quote
Some time ago, we were talking here about how the life began. I was a kind of perplexed then. But now i can say more. The most fundamental aspects of nature are growth and reduction, and indeed, the nature manifests them everywhere. We talked then that at the molecular level, there are many processes which can cause growth. But what we need for life to emerge are both growth and reduction. Growth with some sporadic reduction can result in self-development. There are many processes that cause reduction as well. What is necessary is a good combination of growth and reduction. I'm not a molecular biologist, but i think that such combination is not improbable.

These discussions here, in spite rather about remotely related things, still help me to develop my ideas further.

And Emerald Tablet, well, it was the cornerstone of the medieval science. Now rather forgotten. But it's better to know what the roots were.

Last edited by tkorrovi @ 9/28/2011 5:50:00 PM

posted 12/11/2011  23:11Send e-mail to userReply with quote
I would try to explain you more what the principle of correspondence means regarding True AI. If it has to be unrestricted, it means that the basic mechanism has to be unrestricted. If it has to be interconnected, it means that the basic mechanism should be such that the system is interconnected. If nothing has to exist by itself, it means that the basic mechanism should not enable anything to exist by itself. Et cetera. And thus we know quite a lot about the basic mechanism, so that we can derive it.

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posted 9/9/2012  23:31Reply with quote
This is pretty interesting, and I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before. The name alone sounds like some mystical or religious nonsense, which is off-putting, but if respected people like Isaac Newton saw and translated the document's contents, it really must have existed, even if it wasn't really written on a green stone or emerald in later years.

The quote from this document, "The formation of the microcosm is in accordance with the formation of the macrocosm.", is an important principle of systems theory and of education that I largely learned from my own experience. To me it basically implies statements like "If you master one subject and its underlying principles, you will find the same underlying principles in any other subject" or "By examining even a microcosm (such as chess), you will learn about macrocosms (such as business success)."

Similarly, the quote "And all things sprang from this essence through a single projection." sounds like it's talking about the Big Bang, which wasn't known until modern times. Or reworded: "All things, large and small, operate according to the same natural laws." Very true.

My complaint about the Emerald Tablet text is exactly the same as my complaint about the Christian Bible or about very general philosophical works like Musashi's "The Book of Five Rings"...

...or maybe the I Ching, namely, that the text contains a lot of wisdom from systems theory, but it is worded in such a general fashion that it is largely useless in practice. Its wisdom is *so* general that you can read just about any kind of interpretation into it. That means it is largely useless for making laws, making scientific discoveries, making day-to-day practical decisions, executing specific martial arts moves, and so on. In short, it's all strategy and no tactics. It would have been better if such a text were combined with specific examples of the generalities, or at least the intent and field to which it was intended.

For years I've been wanting to compile exactly such a book on wisdom and/or systems theory, and I still do, but I just don't have the time. There is a lot more I could write about systems theory, and the relationship between wisdom and knowledge (look up the DIKW spectrum, for example), and the relationship between strategy and tactics, but that would be off-topic for this thread.

Last edited by simnia @ 9/9/2012 11:39:00 PM

posted 9/10/2012  02:40Send e-mail to userReply with quote
simnia wrote @ 9/9/2012 11:31:00 PM:
it is worded in such a general fashion that it is largely useless in practice.

It is general because the principles are general, these principles have to be general. But they cannot be interpreted in whatever way. Because as they are general, they also apply to everything. And this is a very strict condition, anything aimed to be general and any part of it always have to correspond to these principles.

General is what we have to deal with when we want to create True AI, specific is what we need when we want to make an AI for a specific purpose. I don't know what you expected such principles to be, general is what they have to be, or modeling such essential natural phenomena as life or human mind is not an aim.

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Last edited by tkorrovi @ 9/10/2012 4:37:00 AM

posted 9/10/2012  18:59Send e-mail to userReply with quote
tkorrovi wrote @ 9/10/2012 2:40:00 AM:
I don't know what you expected such principles to be,

This is another topic that I tend to view as a hierarchy. In this case, specific examples would be at the bottom layer and representing the widest part of the pyramid, and at the top would be extremely general principles like "Everything goes somewhere, including the effects of any type of force" or "Anything will change over a long enough period of time", which would be at the narrowest part of the pyramid since those statements of universal applicability are fewer in number. But there is an entire spectrum of generality between. With increasing applicability you also get less specific knowledge. There is an inherent tradeoff in representations like that.

What I would expect from a really good text on general wisdom--or actually on any topic--would be the presence of all levels of generality at once so that the reader could see and understand the entire spectrum with minimal effort. That's what mastery of a topic is about, in my opinion.

In my experience, most mathematical textbooks go wrong with this, too: they present some theorem out of the blue, rigorously prove it, and then the reader is left thinking, "Well, that's nice, but so what? What good is this? Why does anybody care? How is this useful? What examples motivated somebody to go to all this work in the first place?" Then a weak math textbook will follow that theorem with some specific examples of how the theory can be applied, usually too few in number to give a real appreciation of the theorem, before launching into the student exercises that contain the most interesting and most useful examples. A bad math textbook will just immediately launch into student exercises with no examples whatsoever. To me the Emerald Tablet is like a bad math textbook: it presents some general theorems from out of the blue (out of the green?) and implies that the reader has to figure out for himself/herself how to apply them to real life.

I'll use chess as a domain to give a specific example of what I mean by layers of generality (using descriptive chess notation):

knowledge of extremely high generality:
The opening move usually highly influences the character of the ensuing game, regarding sharpness, speed, and endgame type.
If the first move is a knight move, the opening will usually transpose into a pawn opening that is better-known.
If the first move is a single square pawn advance, the opening tends to either transpose into a better-known pawn opening, or becomes defensive for the first player.

knowledge of fairly high generality:
1. P-K4 tends to lead to tactical games.
1. P-Q4 tends to lead to drawish games.

knowledge of medium generality:
The Four Knights Game tends to lead to a draw.
The Kings Gambit tends to lead to a highly tactical, interesting game.

knowledge of fairly high specificity:
The Symmetrical Variation of the Four Knights Game is almost guaranteed to end in a draw, especially if the players tend to make moves that retain pawn symmetry.

An even better text (which I don't have patience to provide here) would explain *why* each given statement is believed to be true.

Last edited by simnia @ 9/11/2012 6:48:00 AM

posted 9/10/2012  22:00Send e-mail to userReply with quote
Everything you say to make it better. Why cannot you be the one who makes it better, why do you always want to be at the bottom of the pyramid? If this is where you want to be, then there you stay, you wanted it, none of your dreams can change that. I want to be at the top of the pyramid, and i stay there, if you ever want and feel capable of, you can climb to the top too. I would say the things look beautiful from the top ;)

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posted 9/10/2012  22:16Send e-mail to userReply with quote
tkorrovi wrote @ 9/10/2012 10:00:00 PM:
why do you always want to be at the bottom of the pyramid?

Because that's where all the pyramid power is focused. :-)

posted 9/11/2012  02:46Send e-mail to userReply with quote
The problem in AI, immenseley more than anywhere else, this bottom of the pyramid is huge. We see so many stones, that we can never even see that it's a pyramid.

Whatever. I'm supposed to be a heartless technocrat, who is indifferent about everything human. And i'm the direct opposite, i don't even admire technology at all. This what i created, mostly came out of that conflict. Yes and out of that pain which that caused to me.

 Artificial Consciousness ADS-AC project
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